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Hi I'm Brendan

I am a National Merit Scholar. I live in Kyushu, Japan. I'm a Mormon.

About Me

I'm fairly nerdy -- that's most primary to who I am. I'm deferred from college right now to serve a full time mission for the church -- in Japan. It's probably the most fun thing I've ever done. I like heavy metal, sleeping in, Gundam, pretty much any game Atlus publishes, and talking to old Japanese men (they're full of all sorts of interesting stories!) Also random technology news, Monster Hunter, and physics. Recently I`ve taken a liking to Gundam models, but before I was in Japan I was really into LEGO. I rediscovered it in the last couple years, especially the professional communities scattered around the states. Needless to say, LEGO Gundams are pretty much the best thing ever.

Why I am a Mormon

When I was young, I don't know if I really understood all of the Church. I understood some parts in greater detail than others, and I`m still learning now, but I think my understanding was fairly limited then. Then after a huge number of big changes in my life, I decided to rely on the Savior a bit more than I had before -- and inch by inch, I became a better person. The circumstances from there didn't get any better; in fact, they got worse. But I realized how to survive through a lot of the worst events in life, and the joy that comes through understanding what Christ's ultimate sacrifice did for each one of us.

How I live my faith

Before leaving for my mission, I served in a whole bunch of different places. As a 12-year-old and again as 17-year-old, I served as president of my youth group. For the last 3 months before I left for Japan, I served as an insturctor in Sunday School for adults. I was the youngest person there, and the teacher. Needless to say, teaching about marriage was an intersting lesson. Right now, I'm living my faith more than ever before. I`m serving as a full time missionary, studying in the morning and proselyting away the evening -- it`s incredibly fun. I also get to teach an English class every week, which is usually a highlight: so many people here speak good english!

Why do you have 12 Apostles? They were just meant to be around for the time of Jesus Christ, not to be replaced with new apostles.

Brendan
12 Apostles -- if this organization of 12 existed in the pattern of the original Church, wouldn't it follow that it would exist in the modern Church? Apostles are chosen to be special witnesses of Christ -- the original Greek means 'one who is sent away.' They help proclaim the gospel to every land and every people. Apostles aren't superhuman, they just have a witness and conviction far above ordinary men. Show more Show less

What is Mormonism? OR What do Mormons believe?

Brendan
We believe that our Savior, Jesus Christ completed the Atonement, where he suffered for the sins of all people everywhere, so that each person individually, forward and backward in time, could repent and become better. He was crucified and resurrected 3 days later so that we too could all become resurrected. Everything else -- prophets, the Book of Mormon, the modern church -- is just an appendage to that Atonement. Basically, by believing in Jesus Christ and trusting in the cleansing power of his great sacrifice, then repenting through that Atonement to be cleansed from sin, being baptized by water to finish off the repentance process and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost for guidance, and then faithfully enduring to the end, we receive salvation. Show more Show less

Why do some call Mormonism a cult?

Brendan
Did you know that no one has actually used the term cult academically since the mid 1980s? It's quite funny that tossing out the word "cult" instantly discredits a religion. Did you know that the Romans called Christians a "cult" and "atheists" because they were out of the norm for Roman Paganism? If you seriously consider what we believe (or any so called 'cult' believes) you'll see we aren't so different. So we don't drink alcohol or smoke -- a lot of people don't. We believe in the family as the most important social unit -- a lot of people do. A few of our beliefs are definitely a bit outside of Protestant or Catholic religion, but we claim to be Christ's one true restored church -- if there wasn't anything that had been changed, there wouldn't be a need for a Restoration. As soon as you see that things were changed, you'll find the need for all things that seperate us from our other Christian friends. Show more Show less

Why do Mormons perform baptisms for the dead?

Brendan
This question comes back, I think, to whether or not God loves everyone. I certainly know. Why would a loving God not desire all his children to return to Him? Baptism, as Christ said, was the gate for entering into the Kingdom of Heaven, and without it no one can return to heaven. So that's why we perform baptisms for those who couldn't receive it. So that they can receive the same level of exaltation that God wants all of His children to enjoy. God didn't put any of us on this earth to fail. Show more Show less

Does The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints endorse political parties?

Brendan
Every four years a statement is read from the First Presidency by local church leaders to the congregations, stating "Principles compatible with the gospel are found in the platforms of all major political parties." While individual members of the Church are encouraged to be active in their local areas, the Church has never made any political stances as a whole -- only a few moral ones. In fact, to prevent the Church from becoming a unit of political influence, no one can endorse a candidate using the Church's name. The first prophet of the modern church made a comment once to the effect that when he spoke of spiritual matters it was as a prophet, but he spoke of politics as a man. When we vote, we vote prayerfully - considering how each individual candidate represents the beliefs that we hold dearly. No one is going to do it perfectly -- no one in the system is perfect - and that's why we vote. Show more Show less

Do you really believe there is a prophet like Moses alive today?

Brendan
Having the teachings of ancient prophets is indeed important, but equally important is having a modern oracle -- someone who, like a prophet of old, can see far ahead of us and tell us what we need to do to live well regardless of outside circumstances. God is the same yesterday, today and forever - unchanging - and I don't understand why He would call prophets until the time of Christ and then just stop suddenly. God loves all of His children, so he calls prophets to point to Christ. Show more Show less